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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Praise your brothers and sisters!

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Upon Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, the church in Philippi, concerned about him, determined to send help to him. They sent a man named Epaphroditus, who was faithful to his task, and arrived in Rome with their gifts for the beloved apostle.

His trip to Rome was an eventful one. He had become ill, “almost to death”, causing great concern not only for Paul, but also for the church in Philippi who had heard of his sickness. But, he recovered, and Paul sent him back to his brethren in Philippi, that they might rejoice at seeing him alive and healthy.

Paul had great respect for Epaphroditus, and wrote of him in glowing terms. Of him, Paul wrote, “my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need” (Philippians 2:25).

Because of his faithfulness, he was to be praised. Paul wrote, “because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me” (2:30).

Paul instructed the Philippians, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem” (2:29). With this admonition, we note in the phrase “such men” that there are others who are worthy of the same praise.

Paul’s writings are filled with commendations of fellow Christians. He commended Phoebe, “for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also” (Romans 16:2). Priscilla and Acquila, “who risked their own necks for my life” (Romans 16:4). Mary, “who labored much for us” (Romans 16:6). Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis “who labored much in the Lord” (Romans 16:12). Timothy, “for he does the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 16:10); “for I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state…But you know his proven character” (Philippians 2:20-22). The household of Stephanas, “they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (1 Corinthians 16:15). Fortunatus and Achaicus “for they refreshed by spirit and yours” (1 Corinthians 16:18). Tychicus, “a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:21). Onesimus “a faithful and beloved brother” (Colossians 4:9). Aristarchus, Mark, Justus “they have proved to be a comfort to me” (Colossians 4:10-11). Epaphras, “always laboring fervently for you in prayers…he has a great zeal for you” (Colossians 4:12-13), “my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 23). Onesiphorus, “for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain…you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18). Titus, “a true son in our common faith” (Titus 1:4). Philemon “our beloved friend and fellow laborer” (Philemon 1). A lengthy, but not exhaustive list.

Each of these individuals have been immortalized by the Spirit’s inspiration. Of most we know very little. But, they were faithful to Christ and Paul His apostle, and therefore were worthy of the praise they received.

Paul’s praise not only validated their efforts in the work of the Lord, his words also elevated them in the eyes of the brethren. They held them in esteem at Paul’s urging. This indicates how very important and helpful it is to praise the faithful. Those who are worthy should be encouraged. They should be acknowledged, that others know of their work and appreciate their efforts for the Lord. This one way to endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Praise your brothers and sisters!